Struggling to get excited about England's friendly against Italy tonight? There's every reason to expect the young players on both teams to produce a compelling contest, says Lee Dixon as he reports from Berne.
Only 52 days after England crashed out of Euro 2012 on penalties, Roy Hodgson's men face Italy again in a friendly. I think I said that with sufficient enthusiasm. I'm a huge England fan but it's no secret that the consensus amongst players and fans is that we could have done without this one. That said, the young players involved will be determined to make their mark. Tom Cleverley and Jack Butland could earn first caps for England and Azzurri boss Cesare Prandelli has named eight debutants in his squad. This is definitely a match which could offer valuable pointers for the future.
Over all, I'd say England's Euro 2012 campaign was a success. Going in to the tournament under a new manager, and with their best player suspended for their first two matches, expectations were low. We played well in our group games, there were brilliant moments from Theo Walcott and Danny Welbeck while senior figures, such as John Terry and Steven Gerrard, also showed that they can still cut it at the highest level. We were outclassed by Italy in the quarter-final, however, and I was surprised by how tactically wrong Roy Hodgson got that match. England were decent for the first 20 minutes but, once Andrea Pirlo found his passing range, he ran the game.
Englands young lions
Pirlo won't be in the Italy line-up tonight. In one sense that's a shame because I'm out in Berne on ITV duty and I'm always delighted to watch a player of the Juventus maestro's calibre. On the other hand, England should have more joy in the middle of the park. I rate Cleverley very highly, as does Sir Alex Ferguson. At 23, the Manchester United midfielder is at an age when he needs to step up if he's to establish himself for club and country. The signs are good, he impressed for Team GB at the Olympics and was enjoying decent form for United when he sustained a nasty injury last season.
Jack Rodwell has been blighted by injuries over the last 12 months and that must have been a factor in David Moyes' willingness to sell him to Manchester City. I fear for Rodwell there. He's talented but I don't see where he will get a game. He's going to have to be patient so he needs to take every opportunity he gets and that includes tonight's match.
Back under 2.5 goals
These two sides couldn't produce a goal between them in 120 minutes at the Euros. The absence of Mario Balotelli and Wayne Rooney won't help overs backers so I will certainly be going with under 2.5 goals. I don't think we will see another 0-0 though. There will be plenty of endeavour from debutants on both sides and I think there will be goals at both ends.
Who will get England's goal?
Andy Carroll needs a big season, whoever he ends up playing for. His goal against Sweden at Euro 2012 shows that he can be devastating if he gets good service. Italian defenders are among the canniest in the business but I'm going to back Carroll to get a goal for England tonight.
Back the draw @ 3.211/5
Back Andy Carroll to score @ 3.65
Back under 2.5 goals @ 1.68/13